Brotein and nutrition tid-bits
Welcome back! Today’s blog is going to be a combination of inspiration from my mom (who wanted to hear about protein powders), and my friend Alyssa (who wanted to hear about some nutrition tips I have). So! Without further ado, here we go…
Protein powders (or, like I said, BROTEIN)
The suggestion in the word “brotein” is that it’s mostly meant for, or used by, those super swoll gym-rat dudes. While it may be true that they are the biggest consumers of protein powders, it’s not true that they’re the only people meant to use them. You don’t need to be bulking, you don’t need to be swoll, and you don’t need to have biceps the size of my head to benefit from protein powder. However, it IS a supplement, so it should be consumed responsibly and in a relevant manner.
Now, here is where I remind you that I’m no expert. I can only dispel advice based on my own experiences… but hey! At least I’m a fitness freak who USES protein powder so it’s not like I’m totally clueless, right? Right?! 😉
Why I use protein powder:
I’ve been through a few different phases during my past of working out; sometimes I’m trying to lose weight, sometimes I’m trying to bulk, sometimes I’m trying to become genuinely stronger, and sometimes I’m just working out because it’s fun. But the common denominator among these different goals is the protein powder I was using. (But I thought protein powder was only for people who were trying to get big huge muscles???) Shhh… It’s not. Protein powder is just that. It is a supplement of protein. It can be added to foods (smoothies, oatmeals, etc.), it can be mixed with milk or water and taken right after a workout, or it can be taken in the morning for breakfast. But the end goal when using protein powder is to get more protein into your diet.
The main reason I use protein powder is because I don’t get enough protein otherwise. This is especially true when my goals are bulking. I have a lot of trouble putting on muscle because I’m a small person, and I just don’t eat enough to bulk. End of story. However, the small amount I have been able to achieve is probably 100% due to the fact that I supplement protein.
What this means is that if you eat four steaks a day (holy cholesterol, batman) then you probably don’t need to be drinking protein powder. Get my drift? If you’re comsuming enough protein in your diet already, then you can probably skip the protein shakes.
Getting protein from straight up, real life food sources is always a better option than any sort of supplement ever. That’s just a general principle of life. Real food > pills/powders.
But, like I said, I don’t get enough protein from real food sources. I either don’t have the time or desire to cook, or I just don’t have an appetite for all dat meat. (Let’s be real, sometimes too much protein is just plain unpalatable.) THIS is why I started supplementing protein in the first place, and it’s the reason I continue to do so.
How do I “take” my protein?
When I was still using whey protein I would drink it mixed with water right after my workouts. But the whey was hurting my stomach so I started experimenting with different types of protein and have finally landed on a vegan protein powder derived from various plant sources, beans, and seeds. Now, because our bodies do not absorb plant proteins as quickly as animal proteins, I drink it before my work outs, and I find some other real food source of protein to eat after my workouts.
What do I look for in my protein powders?
First, I go straight to the ingredient list, and I will only buy it if it meets this requirement; it’s short, and I can generally understand what each ingredient is.
Then, if I like the ingredient list, I go to the rest of the nutrition label. I prefer mine to have absolutely no fat in it (though I will go up to 3 grams), minimal sugar, and a handful of calories. (Pft, a handful. Shut up. What is that?) That means that I don’t want my powder to have NOTHING but protein in it, but that I am flexible when it comes to the amount of calories.
Then it’s time to see how much protein is actually in it… 15+ grams is good for me now that I’m using vegan protein. However, when I used whey I wouldn’t settle for anything less than 25 grams.
And lastly, the serving size and the price. If the serving size is more than one scoop, I’m out. I will only buy protein powders with a one scoop serving, because otherwise they are just unbearably expensive. I also generally like to get AT LEAST 20 servings out of a container, and I will pay up to $30, but I’d prefer between $20 and $25.
Now this may sound almost impossible to find, but it’s not.
I used to buy My Fit Foods Whey Protein Powder (which I can actually no longer find ANYWHERE). It fit all my requirements and was $19.99.
I now use Garden of Life RAW Protein. It fits all my requirements and is about $27. Here are some stats on it if you’re interested:
0 grams of fat
3 gram of carbs
< 1 gram of sugar
17 grams of protein
Vitamins A, D, E, and K
Serving size is 1 scoop
28 total servings in a container
And, it doesn’t hurt my stomach. 🙂
The bottom line
(1) Decide if you even NEED to supplement protein in your diet. (Think about your fitness goals and how much protein you already eat from real food sources.)
(2) Decide what KIND of protein you want… whey, casein, rice, soy, almond, egg, vegan?! There’s so many. (This is where your diet restrictions and a good amount of research comes in.)
(3) Decide what your requirements are going to be for your protein. This is something that you may just develop over time as you read the different labels and experience the many varieties. I’m willing to drink protein powder that tastes like total crap if it meets my requirements. Others may be less willing and may sacrifice some requirements for taste. So you have to figure out what works for you; I can’t just tell you.
(4) Buy and consume responsibly. 😉
Now, nutritional tid-bits:
I’m going to do this by listing the specific questions Alyssa asked me and then answering them. Easy enough.
– “Am I eating too many eggs?”
Here’s my stance on eggs… EAT ALL OF THEM. Protein man, and also, they are delicious.
The only thing to be wary of is the cholesterol, but if you’re worried about it, just eat egg-whites instead. (There’s ZERO cholesterol in egg-whites.)
– “My doctor told me protein shakes are pretty much a scam…”
I don’t think SOME protein shakes are a total scam. That’s why I’m very picky about my protein powder.
And of course, like I said, real food is always a better choice. However, if you need to supplement protein for health reasons or for fitness goals, protein powder can be hugely useful.
I think where it becomes a scam is in the use (or more specifically, overuse) of it. It is true that your body can only consume so much protein at a time, so if you take 3 scoops of a protein powder that has 25 grams of protein per scoop, that’s 75 total grams. That’s too much, and a lot of it will go to waste (straight to the kidneys). I’m sorry I don’t know the exact numbers, and I’m almost positive the numbers are different for different types/sources of protein.
So, yes, protein shakes can be a scam, but they don’t have to be if you know what you’re consuming and are doing so responsibly.
– “What’s the deal with fruit? Ok? Bad?”
I would never call fruit BAD. I would just call it counterproductive to some fitness goals.
There is a lot of sugar in fruit, and generally, sugar is something you want to cut out when you’re trying to lose weight.
This isn’t to say you should never eat fruit, but rather, that you should eat a reasonable serving of it. You just have to decide what’s best for your own diet/goals.
I personally eat fruit at least once a day in a smoothie, and I LOVE fuji apples (which are very high in sugar and calories), so I don’t restrict myself from them.
– “How do I make oatmeal taste good?”
Great question. First of all oats are great for you. But not the prepackaged strawberries and cream kind. The straight up, raw, whole grain oats in a can.
I usually put a bit of (light) brown sugar and cinnamon in mine with banana slices. Freaking yum.
Sometimes I add peanut butter. You could add in a bit of egg-whites or protein powder to the mix to beef it up.
I imagine strawberries would taste good. You could use stevia instead of brown sugar.
The options really are endless, but the bottom line is, definitely eat oatmeal. 😉
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Alright, that’s all I’ve got for today!
If you want some more nutrition tid-bits, I’d be happy to answer your questions. ^_^
And as always, if you have any other suggestions, please do contact me.
Pura vida and stay strong!
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